The phone rang at 6:30 on a Monday morning in April 2005. A man stated he had three Egyptian fruit bats, a mother, father and baby. He had been keeping them as pets but now wished to them place at Bat World. He would not give his name or say where he had obtained the bats; he simply said he was not being fair to them. He said he had happened upon our Spring ’05 issue of Bat World News, and after reading our article on the inhumane practice of keeping fruit bats as pets he realized he was not giving them what they needed. He had them for a year and never put them in a flight cage.
He said he had researched our website and thought perhaps that was why the last baby had died. He did not want this one to perish as well. He seemed genuinely upset by any harm he may have caused the bats. We commended him for his honesty and compassion for the animals and assured him they would have the life they so richly deserved – they would be given the necessary diet, have toys for enrichment, roosts of their choice, they would be examined daily and most of all they would be with their own kind, flying as much as they liked. When he left he looked very relieved, then he simply disappeared around the corner.
The baby was undersized and underweight, but otherwise, the trio appeared healthy so they were allowed to join the other fruit bats in their new home. Over the next few days the baby was found alone and her mother seemed disinterested despite her baby’s attempt to nuzzle with her. Fortunately, the baby was old enough to begin eating solid foods, so we encouraged her to to eat fruit by placing tiny bits of banana in her mouth. She learned almost immediately, so she was given all the tiny pieces of fruit she could eat in a modified cup, just her size.
It wasn’t long before the tiny girl discovered our Egyptian fruit bat matriarch, Cleobatra, roosting in her favorite hammock and resting her crippled toes. When the tiny girl attempted to snuggle with Cleo, she nuzzled the baby’s beautiful little face and seemed to tuck the baby under her wing. As the days passed the baby continued to roost next to Cleobatra. At times she looked like a miniature version of Cleo, even mimicking Cleo’s posture and actions. It wasn’t long before she earned the name “Cleobatra Mini-Me”, or Mini-Me, for short. Although Mini-me is growing bigger and stronger by the day, she remains undersized. Mini-Me seems extremely happy here at Bat World, unaware that she is so tiny. To this day she continues to roost with Cleobatra.